Change is good
We like change. We started with a full artificial tree.
The following year, went to a space-saving idea and stuck with half a tree.
We had a metal birch tree the next year, which worked very nicely to display all of the ornaments collected over the years. We had lots of visitors that year stopping in to see the tree and visit.
A palm tree followed the birch tree and made us all feel as if we were in a warm place.
The winner this year was an upside down tree. It’s really fun for visitors to stop and for the people driving by. We certainly enjoy all the stops and having fun with our trees every year. Every year visitors and family can expect something new.
Submitted by Tootie Lundgren of Hermantown.
Our tree must be at least 18 feet tall, but preferably 20 feet tall. This year we went back to Mike Lane’s tree farm as always. He expects us and knows just where to guide us to show us the perfect tree. He has a few that he says he has set aside for us, but we know it’s because no one else is crazy enough to want those trees because of their size. He helps us cut it down and uses a forklift to guide it to our trailer, where we have to pull it in. We put it on a tarp to make pulling it out easier, but that never works as well as we hope. We also pick up a “normal” tree for our neighbor, Carl Ball. We pick his up for him and in turn he “gets” to help us put ours up.
We call Carl after we’ve removed the garage door from its hinges so the tree can be yanked through more easily. A specially-made tree stand was made years ago and a five-gallon bucket helps to hold the tree and the gallons of water needed. All the neighbors know and say the Christmas season does not start until the Ballavance’s tree is up. It’s not Black Friday — it’s Tree Friday.
It takes us the rest of the weekend to put the lights and decorations on the tree. This year we were thankful for help from our niece and nephew. The pickle decoration has been hung and a festive tablecloth used as a tree skirt has been placed below all waiting for the presents to be wrapped. Oh yes, we still have plenty of shopping to do because we skipped Black Friday.
Submitted by Blaine, Lynda, Hunter, Hannah and Hallee Ballavance of Hermantown.
Christmas charm bracelet
My Christmas tree is like a giant, silver charm bracelet. I picked this one because it reminded me of the white flocked trees our family had when we were growing up.
I love unpacking my ornaments one by one and remembering where and who they came from. The stories go back for years and years. I have ornaments from my family and childhood; silver plastic bells that are as old as I am. Hand-sewn red cardinals I remember sewing with my mother and sisters. Stryofoam forms that I sat at the table with my grandmother and aunt when I was small, putting pins and beads and sequins and ribbons together.
There are hand-painted and handmade ornaments from my forever girlfriends, which Nikki’s grandmother painted, that were all custom-made for each of us (I played violin and viola in high school) Deb (happy 50th birthday!) cross-stitched little angel pillows and painted nuts to look like fruit.
There are lots of ornaments from aunts, friends (old and new), sisters, nieces and nephews, which are all made or picked out especially for you.
There are hand-crocheted skates, candy canes and snowflakes that were made by our grandmothers. There are ornaments from our first Christmas together, our first house, our pets, past and present; and ornaments that reflect our jobs and our hobbies.
The branches on my tree are thin so I can get as many on as possible. I wonder what I will receive this year, because my father-in-law has been giving me an ornament every year.
Submitted by Char and Pat Currie of Superior.
A family affair
Ray Reha of Herbster and his wife, Barbara, are lucky to have two of Ray’s granddaughters living next door. The girls have helped decorate their Christmas tree for the past four years, making it a Reha tradition of sorts. Taylor Nicoletti, 6, (left) and Rylee Nicoletti, 8, are the daughters of Missy and Tim Nicoletti of Herbster. The proud grandparents try to make it a day of fun and laughter while the girls are helping to decorate.
Seek and you will find
One of the many joys of living in our great Northwoods is the annual trek into the Brule River State Forest in search of that special tree to grace our living room picture window. The search does not have to produce a perfect pine, spruce or balsam — three good sides only serve to widen the choices available. And, the $5 tag is a mere token of the pleasure derived from returning a week before Christmas to claim the treasure in the snow.
Submitted by Joe and Clarice Brygger of Lake Nebagamon.